I just finished Bioshock:Infinite. Work (both Uni and actual) kept getting in the way of me just sitting down and finishing this game, so it took me about four days. I technically have about 40 hours logged on Steam into this game, except a large portion of that is just the game sitting there whilst I was out for the day because I didn’t want to lose my save!
I stayed up till 03:30 this morning to finish this game. I am done. That. Was. Amazing.
I appear to be a part of a minority here, in that I’ve never played any of the other Bioshock games. Honestly, I never have. I heard they were scary, so I didn’t play them. I know, I know, childish but… I’m a pansy. It took me ages for my friends to convince me to play Left for Dead: 2 with them, I’m that terrible with any kind of horror / thriller games. I wish I wasn’t, because I know I’m missing out on so many great experiences, and it is something I’m trying to overcome but… Still. It persists. I would have put Bioshock: Infinite down after that one jump scare that everyone who’s played it knows about if it weren’t for the simply fantastic story that I could never bring myself to part with.
This article is going to be fairly riddled with spoilers. I’ll make a spoiler free section wherein I discuss the general motif of the game that won’t contain many spoilers. In fact, I think I’ll start with that first!
Relatively spoiler-free section – Only discussing
The game is a visual masterpiece. Few dissenting opinions appear to exist just yet; Columbia is painted so beautifully and truthfully as to be an image of heaven. This heaven soon reveals the tragic and dark underbelly of any metropolis, but the journey wherein Booker discovers the reality of Columbia is one that I will forever envy my past self for getting to experience.
What I believe to be the first hint of the truth of Columbia is at the carnival very early-on in the game. Besides all of the general revelry that the rich white people partake in, there is on who does not enjoy himself. A clown looks forlornly at you at the carnival. He just stares at you, juggling balls. That sad smile… This is the first real hint that all is not what it seems.
It’s things like that that are amazing. There are just numerous untold details that I can’t even begin to fully encompass without spoiling anything.
The gameplay was just electric. Not just the damn Shock Jockey Vigor, the whole experience; I thoroughly enjoyed battling enemies with a variety of both vigors and guns. Truth be told, the powers were sometimes a little bit lackluster and I was well aware of the fact that the powers couldn’t actually be relied upon – they just up the bad guys to be 2nd Amendment-ed by my guns. Still, the merging of powers with guns, as well as the sky-line combat just made it all so fantastic.
A few other points that are devoid of spoilers before I move on:
Rotten Apples – The game penalizes you for just accepting everything you find; it forces you to actually think what you’re doing, to stop and look at your surroundings. This is just… fantastic. It forces the player to not just spam F and eat everything they find, and to instead stop and realize what you’re looking at. This cultivates a fantastic mindset in the game where you are never not paying attention.
Elizabeth is so damn fast – This annoyed me slightly, but I guess it was necessarily in the times that Elizabeth is… separated from you, shall we say, she runs so damn fast. How? You’re goddamn Booker DeWitt, you kill countless buggers with your awesome array of weapons, vigors and bad-assery. How can this 20 year old girl with no physical training or experience (except dancing) somehow outrun you?!
Elizabeth helps you search – When searching through a variety of places for equipment, resources or some such, Elizabeth actually looks with you. She actively looks around the room, surveying stuff, making it look like she’s really helping you. She’ll also point out lock-picks to you – although it would be nice if she were to pick them up herself, the lazy cow… After all, it’s the only item she actually uses.
Without discussing spoilers, this game truly is a visual and thematic masterpiece. Obviously it has some flaws (some of which I’ll talk about in my next article, wherein I respond to a few reviews about it), but I can safely place it among my most enjoyable gaming experiences of all time.
Right, the story. My god, was that twist enjoyable. The type of experience that requires you to stop a while, consider what’s happened – hell, even go on a few forums and figure it out. The sudden and ultimate twist is something that people always enjoy, but the fantastic thing about Bioshock: Infinite’s twist was how it tied everything together. The entire game is spent on this hunt for Elizabeth with no real understanding of why you’re trying to get her; everything is ultimately hinting at this grand finale that ties everything together.
Dammit, it was satisfying. I actually had trouble playing the game due to my hands being on my head in mind-baffling bam-boozlement.
If people do not understand the story, there are plenty of places out there where you can figure it out (possibly go to the bioshock subreddit?) but just… Damn, I enjoyed it.
I was writing notes for this article whilst playing it; I thought I would be constantly referring back to it, but I ultimately just got too engrossed in the whole experience to step away long enough to put anything to paper.
I don’t want to be another writer who simply gives Bioshock: Infinite a 10/10 rating, because it doesn’t actually deserve that. It is not a perfect game. 10/10 in the sense of an excellent experience that I would recommend to anyone? Absolutely. In my next article, I’m going to be responding to a few reviews of Bioshock: Infinite – both favourable and not – about how the game failed in some areas; some of it may be nitpicking, be warned – it is hard to fault a game such as this, but however much I want to give it a perfect review one simply can’t…
So, tune in next time!